New Research Confirms that Cocoa is Health Food for your Heart

A study published on August 29, 2011 in the British Medical Journal (BMJ 2011; 343:d4488) has shown that chocolate consumption significantly reduces cardiovascular disease risk factors,including coronary heart disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

The meta-analysis, conducted at the University of Cambridge in England, reviewed seven independent studies of cocoa consumption among more than 100,000 participants. The authors concluded that increased chocolate intake was significantly associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Those studied who ate the most chocolate were able to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by 37 percent, diabetes by 31 percent, and stroke by 29 percent.

According to the World Health Organization, nearly 23.6 million people will die from cardiovascular disorder by 2030; and already, one-fifth of the adult population suffers from metabolic syndrome, pre-disposing them to the risk of cardiac disease.

“This study confirms what has been long known about the health benefits of polyphenols found in chocolate and their ability to protect the heart from the build-up of atherosclerosis or plaques,” said author and neuroscientist Joseph Maroon, MD. “What has been unappreciated is that certain dark chocolates and chocolate concentrates provide some of the greatest sources of these healthy plant molecules in our diet.” Dr. Maroon is Vice Chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

According to Harvard nutritionist and epidemiologist Eric Ding, Ph.D., “The majority of the benefits of chocolate on heart disease are from special cocoa flavonoids, which have been recently shown to clinically lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol. People need to remember that it’s the cocoa flavonoids that are good, and the sugar and calories in chocolate that are bad.”

Ding led a Harvard research team’s analysis of 21 studies of 2,575 participants showing that cocoa consumption is associated with reducing blood pressure and improving blood vessels and cholesterol levels, among other benefits.

Along these lines, one concern noted by the BMJ researchers was that many commercially available chocolate products contain high levels of fat and sugar, which can actually increase the risk of weight gain. A new form of cocoa-based products called CocoaWell, made as a vegetable capsule concentrate, provides all the health benefits of cocoa without the added sugar and fats.  This unique healthy delivery system contains high potency cocoa and pure plant flavanols, scientifically shown to optimize cocoa’s naturalantioxidant and cardio-protective effect. CocoaWell (see www.cocoawell.org and www.cocoawell.com) can be found at fine health food stores nationwide, including Vitamin Shoppe, Whole Foods and GNC

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About Sandra Bell Kirchman

My passion is for fiction, especially fantasy fiction. I have been writing nearly all my life, since the age of 7 when I produced a 5-page novel called "Angus the Ant" - self-illustrated. Since then, I have written and published a fantasy novel called "Witchcanery," which has won several awards and has met with some acclaim from readers around the world. I've also edited and published an anthology for the writers at my site FantasyFic.com, called "Birth of a Unicorn and Other Stories." Both books are available on Kindle; the latter is also available on Nook. Both books are sold as hard copies at most major online outlets. One of my later ventures was horror stories; surprisingly, since horror stories scare me, I find I have a special affinity for them, especially in flash fiction format (under 1000 or less words). Currently, I am working on two WIPs, one a sequel to "Witchcanery," which several readers have made me promise to write; the other an apocalyptic novel called "The Road to the End of the World." There are several examples of this latter novel in my blog "Fantasyfic," formerly known as "Wizards and Ogres and Elves - Oh My!" Fantasyfic is on hold temporarily, while I work almost exclusively on Puppy Dog Tales. My other blogs keep me hopping. One is a roundup of news and some fun pieces from around the world. It is listed under the name of "News, Views, and Gurus." The current blog is my pet favorite, if you'll pardon the expression. I'm an avid pet parent and animal lover. My three little Shih-Tzus are the joys of my life...and so is my husband, but I don't write about him. Anyhow, my blog "Puppy Dog Tales" is a work of love, featuring my doggies and other pets around the world. I'm a devoted advocate of animal rights and especially backing the cause of animal rescue shelters. My wonderful husband and I live in a very small town in southeastern Saskatchewan on the south side in a rustic, cedar-sided home. Our property is almost a whole acre, and is gracious and pretty (which is not easy to be in one package). All five of us are happy here.

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